Expensive and pointless

It has occurred to me that AMD’s 4x4 platform is a bit pointless, somewhat more-so than Quad SLI. AMD originally announced its 4x4 platform at the beginning of June and nothing else has been really revealed. Sure AMD was demonstrating a 4x4 system earlier in the week but no details were revealed on the 4x4 system at all. This is a little sketchy because for all we know AMD could have been demonstrating a dual dual-core Opteron system. Although this wouldn’t be too surprising as regardless of what AMD marketing tries to say, 4x4 is simply workstation technology reworked for enthusiast usage. This wouldn’t be the first time a processor manufacturer has reworked a workstation product for enthusiast usage, though.

Let’s pick a part the 4x4 platform. Dual dual-core processors, HyperTransport bus, PCI Express compatibility and lastly non-uniform memory access capabilities, check and check. Aside from the removal of ECC memory support it has all the makings of a dual dual-core Opteron system, NUMA and all. Pricing appears to be somewhat similar too as it was revealed earlier in the week consumers can pickup a pair of 4x4 capable processors for under $1000. That’s not including a motherboard which most likely will cost over $200, the SLI or Quad SLI graphics cards for another $600-1200 and lastly a couple hard drives or the system won’t be able to encode a DVD and play a game at the same time.

That’s over $2000 in hardware without counting four sticks of memory to take full advantage of dual-channel and NUMA, keyboard, mouse, monitor, optical drive and enclosure. Last I checked but most enthusiasts are looking for the most bang for their buck and close to $3000 is not within the bang for buck price range.

So that brings us to, what’s the point of AMD’s 4x4 enthusiast platform? Insanely expensive and there’s only so much gain one can achieve. It would appear AMD’s so-called enthusiast platform will be out of reach of most enthusiasts. Instead it looks like it’ll be catered more towards users that purchase Alienware or Dell systems instead of enthusiasts that build their own systems. With Intel dominating benchmarks with Core 2 Duo, will 4x4 materialize or will it simply keep getting pushed back until quad core arrives. It’s hard to convince enthusiasts why they should spend over $2000 on a system with diminishing returns.

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